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Shane O'Sullivan's technical blog… really ties the room together

Archive for September, 2006

Dojo documentation getting better by the day!

Posted by Shane O'Sullivan on September 22, 2006

One of the primary criticisms of the Dojo Ajax toolkit is that it’s documentation is at best scattered, and at worst non-existant. The Dojo team, and their many partner companies recognise this fact, and are hard at work to fix it. All Dojo documentation is being consolidated into the Dojo Book, which you can find at http://manual.dojotoolkit.org/WikiHome/DojoDotBook/BookIntroduction, and it’s really starting to fill out nicely.

Another welcome addition is the Dojo Api reference, located at http://dojotoolkit.org/api. It’s built on top of JsLinker, a new Javascript parser developed by the Dojo team and AOL, which understands the common Dojo constructs, like how widgets are defined etc. While it’s not perfect yet (some elements don’t seem to be parse correctly), it’s definitely getting there.

One of the best kept secrets of the toolkit’s documentation (I’m not sure why it’s been kept quiet up to now… probably just an oversight) is the work that the guys on IBM’s WebSphere Portal team are doing to come up with an Eclipse help system for Dojo. It’s essentially putting the Dojo Book into the Eclipse help system, and is hosted at http://www.dojotoolkit.org:8080/help/index.jsp. (Update Feb 13th 2007: this address appears to be down now) Check it out, it’s well worth a read. While it’s not a comprehensive guide to all things Dojo, it’s definitely getting there, and is being added to every day.

One slightly (and I mean slightly) funny thing is that the “Where to find Documentation” page is empty… I presume that’ll be filled in any day now :-)

Posted in Ajax, documentation, Dojo, Javascript, open source, Technical | Leave a Comment »

Using a different filename than dojo.js

Posted by Shane O'Sullivan on September 17, 2006

By default, Dojo requires that it’s main file be called dojo.js. This is essentially because it needs to be able to find the path to the folder in which it is stored so it can remotely load resources.

However, there are situations where you’d like to have multiple different builds ready to use in the same folder, optimised for different pages or applications. For example, one file could have the dojo.widget package for applications that use widgets and you could call it dojo_widget.js, whereas another could just have the dojo.storage package and be called dojo_storage.js.

To enable this behaviour, you have to tell Dojo the base path to it’s folder. To do this, set the djConfig.baseScriptUri in the page using the non-standard file. E.g.

<html>

<head>

<script type=”text/javascript”>

djConfig = {djConfig.baseScriptUri=”/myapp/js/dojo”};

</script>

<script type=”text/javascript” src=”/myapp/js/dojo/dojo_widget.js”></script>

</head>….

And it should all work out just fine!

Posted in Dojo, Javascript, Technical | Leave a Comment »

Will someone just dismantle Eircom already!

Posted by Shane O'Sullivan on September 4, 2006

I was asked recently to fix up a small website for some friends, which was hosted on eircom, the Irish national telecoms provider. So, I thought, fine, I need to find out if they support PHP, Java, ASP or even Ruby on Rails, get the development tools, and away I go – right?

Um, no.

It turns out that eircom (note the fact I refuse to capitalise – cheap shot I know, but well deserved) doesn’t support any server side scripting. Nor do they support any kind of backend database. As I found out, the largest telecoms provider in this fair country of mine in firmly stuck back in 1993 with Windows 3.1 and New Kids on the Block.

Plucky, optimistic guy that I am, I decide to not get too annoyed with my countrymen, and instead get an account from GoDaddy (tacky site, but cheap and with very good account management tools), opt for the LAMP stack, and lo and behold, a few days later the site was up and running.

Now all that was left to do was change the index.html file in the old account to do a Javascript redirect to the new, shinier site, so that the sites that had bookmarked the old one would be auto-redirected to the new one.

Not so fast, says eircom! In order to upload files to the eircom FTP server (whenever it’s not crashed and out of service) you first have to be connected to the internet using an eircom connection, regardless of the fact that you have the username and password for the account. This seems to exist for the simple purpose of punishing you, the naughty naughty customer, for having the temerity to accept one of the plethora of infinitely better broadband deals from one of Eircom’s competitors. So, now I’m reduced to sending a mass email to my friends to find out if any of them have an eircom account so they can upload the file for me.

This whole episode is a fitting microcosm of the problems Ireland is having with it’s broadband rollout. For a country that prides itself on being a “Knowledge Economy”, it has one of the lowest levels of broadband penetration in Europe, and the blame for this can be laid at eircoms door.

Their resistance to Local Loop Unbundling is frankly criminal, abusing a monopoly that they’ve held for far too long, and is the reason why, until very recently, they were they only broadband provider in my area. And it’s not like I’m living in the wild west of Mayo, I live in Dublin, the capital.

Eircom should be leading the way, pushing themselves to win market share by offering better products, better prices and better services. They don’t, and it’s crippling Ireland’s technological advancement. And until the EU’s legislation results in millions of ÔéČuro in fines, the chancers running the company will continue to drag their feet and piss me off.

Phew! Try saying that in one breath!

Posted in broadband, eircom, GoDaddy, Ireland, LAMP, php, Technical | 4 Comments »

 
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